Inspired by one of the founder’s sons, who had spent 15 years in prison before finding redemption, NatureBake, now known as Dave’s Killer Bread, has offered opportunities to numerous other ex-offenders committed to turning their lives around. When this case study was written, more than a third of the company's 270 employees were ex-offenders. Most started on a temp-to-hire basis, and if successful after 90 days, were hired as regular employees.
Respectful stewardship of the land has always defined the Lundberg family’s vision for their organic farming business in Richvale, CA. And that meant establishing a culture of learning to instill the company's employees with a long-term view of the business and the environment. A mix of on-site training, work in cross-functional teams, and off-site education—including training in lean manufacturing for the entire production team—increased consciousness around waste and inefficiencies and resulted in improved work processes and substantial savings.
From its beginning in 1991, the founders of Fort Collins, CO-based New Belgium Brewing envisioned building a world-class beer brand while minimizing the company's environmental footprint. To accomplish that and other ambitions, they built a culture based on a decentralized, highly motivated, and self-directed workforce—especially among production employees.
In addition to employee motivation, tax breaks, and other benefits, Employee Stock Ownership Programs (ESOP) provide owners with an exit strategy option that also preserves their legacy. Founded in 1790, King Arthur Flour—the oldest flour company in the U.S.—was owned by a single family for five generations until the owners began thinking about retirement in the mid-1990s. With no children engaged in the business, the family transferred ownership to an ESOP over nine years.